For decades, the most popular forms of female athleticism revolved around cardio and weight loss. Cutting calories, spending hours on machines and attempting to achieve a waif-like figure seemed to define how, where and why women worked out and ate. But things are changing, and CrossFit has contributed to a powerful movement, from unattainable and monotonous modes of fitness to a focus on health, strength and empowerment.
The women at the helm of this movement are a whole new breed of leader. And they’re not just the elite of the CrossFit world. They’re the gym trainers and owners who commit time and energy to introducing communities to CrossFit. They’re the moms who take pride in their bodies and newfound abilities. They’re the young girls who are more concerned with health than magazine covers. It’s clear that CrossFit women are changing the world in a number of ways, including the following.
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Creating a new kind of female community and culture. Most women have experienced the judgment sometimes associated with group fitness or globo gyms. CrossFit has introduced a group setting in which women can be one another’s cheerleaders. High-fives and ass-slaps are common, and every person’s individual strengths are recognized. Classes ensure that every woman works hard and that her personal progress is the primary focus.
Making barbell lifting mainstream. CrossFit promotes a massive amount of exposure to barbell work — and crushing contradictions to what women who lift are like. A fondness for lipstick and heels doesn’t mean you can’t be a boss in the gym. A role of stay-at-home mom of three doesn’t mean you can’t hold the heaviest deadlift in town. And being a total badass with a barbell doesn’t mean you end up looking like a man.
Redefining beauty and stereotypes. The transition from skinny to six-pack is not what CrossFit is about. It’s about embracing your body for what it is and transforming a frame into its strongest and healthiest version. For the elite, this might mean a six-pack, but for most women, it simply implies balance: a balanced nutrition plan, a balanced fitness regimen and a balanced lifestyle. Being a CrossFit woman is more about loving yourself and appreciating your power and potential than picking yourself apart in an attempt to adapt to societal standards. When you’re working hard and feel good about your physical activity, accepting your body becomes more natural. For many ladies who love CrossFit, beauty is no longer defined by somebody else but is uniquely created by each individual through the pursuit of health and wellness.
Providing a means of empowerment. CrossFit provides an array of tools that empower women. With a supportive community, personal progression and some really hard work, women learn that they are capable of anything. Some surprise themselves with that single pull-up they never thought they’d get. Others run a mile for the first time ever. The journey is different for everybody, but it’s clear that CrossFit injects a sense of strength and power that carries through to all facets of life.